CROP*4260 Crop Science Field Trip

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2021 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.
 

This field study course is designed to increase the student's knowledge of agricultural production, agricultural policy and agri-business. Students will tour the midwestern United States just prior to the start of the fall semester, visiting cash crop, horticultural and livestock farms, and supporting industries such as processing, manufacturing, elevators and stockyards. A student fee will be assessed to cover transportation and lodging.

Pre-Requisite(s): 12.50 credits including AGR*2470

Restriction(s): A cumulative average of 65%. Instructor consent required.

The traditional course consists of the following:  Over a two week period, students will travel by bus through the American Midwest as far west as Denver Colorado and as far south as the boot heel of Missouri.  During this time, students will have the opportunity to visit and talk with innovative people involved in agribusiness, crop and livestock production. Students will see crops and livestock that are common to Ontario as well as rice, cotton and aquaculture. During the trip students will gain an appreciation for the breadth of American agriculture.  In addition, students will visit the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago, view river grain transportation systems and learn about the influence of the American Farm Bill in setting world prices.
Due to COVID considerations the following will be substituted for the 2-week trip:  There are a number of very informative YouTube channels that focus on agriculture across North America.  We will be examining 8 of these channels in depth, including interviewing 3 YouTube content creators.   During their year long viewing of the channels students will gain an appreciation for differences in scale, geography, and breadth of North American agriculture.  Through this virtual field trip students will virtually experience US & Canadian dairy farming, confinement sheep farming, horticulture & market gardening, western Canadian prairie agriculture, cotton, apiculture, cover crop systems, double-cropping soybeans, and planting green.

Instructors:

Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:

0.50

Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture

Campus:

Guelph

Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

There are 3 YouTube Channels that we will do interviews with and 5 YouTube Channels that as a class we will have a class discussion about.  During July & August watch a year’s worth of each YouTube channel’s videos (ok not all of them, but enough that the students get the entire picture of what goes on during a year in their life).  The students will be expected to have watched all 8 channels in depth and develop a journal on all 8 channels prior to the interviews with the content creators.  The year's worth of videos will start Sept. 1, 2020 and end August 31, 2021.  

The YouTube content creator interviews will be conducted via Zoom prior to the start of fall semester: Aug 24th, Aug 26th & Aug 31st.
Discussion of the remaining 5 channels will be on Sept 14th and Sept 16th.
Journals are due at 5 pm in DropBox on Sept 23rd.
Take home exam is due at 5 pm in DropBox on Oct 15th.

YouTube Channels for Interviews:

August 24th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  Griggs Farm - Matt and Kelly Griggs 
August 26th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  Sheepishly Me - Sandi and Mark Brock
August 31st 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  A Canadian Beekeepers Blog - Ian Steppler

YouTube Channels for Discussion:

September 14th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  Mike Mitchel 
September 14th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  SaskDutch Kid 
September 14th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  10th Generation Dairyman 
September 16th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  Millennial Farmer
September 16th 7-9 pm EST Zoom:  Veggie Boys

YouTube Channel Journals (35% of grade): All students are expected to develop a well written journal for each channel (1 to 2 pages in length per channel, single spaced).  The journal for each channel consists of 3 sections:  (1) Background/overview of the YouTuber and their channel – think of this as writing a description of their channel, but from a viewer’s perspective.  The type of information that would allow someone to figure out if they were interested in the content.  (2) Develop 3 key learning points that you personally have taken away from their videos. These need to be described and then give examples from their videos that support/illustrate them.   You might want to reflect back on what you have heard in classes, your own personal experiences, etc. when developing these learning points.  (3) Give an example from their videos of how each YouTuber uses their platform for demonstrating leadership, innovation, and communication.  For the Discussion only YouTube channels there is one additional journal component:  (4) If you could ask them one question, what would it be and why?

Interview Groups (12.5% of grade):  The class will be split into 3 groups and each group will be assigned a YouTube channel to develop interview questions for.  And on the day of the interview, the group is responsible for essentially running the interview of the YouTuber.  I will meet with each group 1-week before the interview to get you started on developing questions.  The list of the interview questions will be submitted to me 3 days prior to the scheduled interview for approval.   Each interview will take place on a separate day and last up to 2 hours.  This will be done on Zoom from 5 to 7 pm, 6 to 8 pm, or 7 to 9 pm EST depending on the YouTuber’s schedule.

Discussion Groups (12.5% of grade):  The class will be split into 5 groups and each group will be assigned a YouTube channel to develop discussion points for.  I will meet with each group 1-week before the scheduled discussion to get you started on developing the discussion points.  The list of the discussion points will be submitted to me 3 days prior to the scheduled discussion for approval.  The discussions will be grouped into 2 sessions.  The first session includes Mike Mitchell, SaskDutch Kid, and 10th Generation Dairyman, as they have some contrasts and overlaps between them.  The second session will be the Veggie Boys and the Millennium Farmer, and we will have a wrap up de-brief as well.  This will be done on Zoom from 7 to 9 pm.

Take home exam (40% of grade): I will develop 4 essay questions around the channels, one questions will be mandatory that everyone answers and then each student has to answer 2 out of the 3 remaining essay questions.  You will have a month to complete this.  This will be sent out to you when the journals are due.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Synthesize current knowledge, published in peer reviewed journals, and draw out the implications for agronomic, social, environmental and economic themes in an essay format (Literacy)

  2. Understand the political, cultural, biological and environmental forces that shape the agricultural production systems of the United States and the implication of these variables on global trade (Global Understanding)

  3. Understand the breadth and depth of the variables that shape global agricultural production (Global Understanding)

  4. Learn independently through observation and discussion (Independence of Thought)

Lecture Content:

This course is structured as a virtual field tour.  There are no formal lecture periods during the semester.  Students will be provided with an opportunity to learn about primary plant and animal agriculture in North America.  Issues to be covered will include: primary production, agro-ecosystem sustainability, agri-business and the politics of North American agriculture. Students will be encouraged to explore themes and issues that are relevant to each of theYouTube Channels that make up the tour.  Students will be responsible for creating a journal for submission to the instructor and will then be assigned the final exam questions to be completed in an essay format.
Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test
Contribution to Final Grade
 

Daily Journals

35%

 

Interview Group Responsibilities

12.5%

 

Discussion Group Responsibilities

12.5%

 

Final Exam

40%

 

Assessment Details 
Daily Journals (35%)
Due: Thu, Sep 23, 5:00 PM, via DropBox
 
Interview Group Responsibilities (12.5%)
Due: Mon, Aug 23 - Fri, Sep 3
 
The class will be split into 3 groups and each group will be assigned a YouTube channel to develop interview questions for.  And on the day of the interview, the group is responsible for essentially running the interview of the YouTuber.  I will meet with each group 1-week before the interview to get you started on developing questions.  The list of the interview questions will be submitted to me 3 days prior to the scheduled interview for approval.  
Discussion Group Responsibilities (12.5%)
Due: Wed, Sep 8 - Fri, Sep 17
 
The class will be split into 5 groups and each group will be assigned a YouTube channel to develop discussion points for.  I will meet with each group 1-week before the scheduled discussion to get you started on developing the discussion points.  The list of the discussion points will be submitted to me 3 days prior to the scheduled discussion for approval.  The discussions will be grouped into 2 sessions.  The first session includes Mike Mitchell, SaskDutch Kid, and 10th Generation Dairyman, as they have some contrasts and overlaps between them.  The second session will be the Veggie Boys and the Millennium Farmer, and we will have a wrap up de-brief as well. 
Final Exam (40%)
When: Fri, Oct 15, 5:00 PM, DropBox
 
I will develop 4 essay questions around the YouTube channels, one questions will be mandatory that everyone answers and then each student has to answer 2 out of the 3 remaining essay questions.  The exam will be sent out to the students on Friday Sept 24th. The students will have one month to complete the exam. 

Final examination:

Exam Time and Location: The take home exam is due on Friday October 15th by 5 pm in DropBox.
Weight: 40%

Course Resources:

 Required Resources 

YouTube Channels (Other)
 
YouTube Channels for Interviews:
Sheepishly Me - Sandi and Mark Brock
A Canadian Beekeepers Blog - Ian Steppler
Griggs Farm - Matt and Kelly Griggs
 
YouTube Channels for Discussion:
Mike Mitchel (1st discussion meeting)
SaskDutch Kid (1st discussion meeting)
10th Generation Dairyman (1st discussion meeting)
Millennial Farmer (2nd discussion meeting)
Veggie Boys (2nd discussion meeting)

Course Policies:

Grading Policies: 

All course assignments are due on the specified date.  Assignments submitted up to 7 days after the due date will be downgraded by 10%.  Assignments submitted after this period will be downgraded by 20%.

Course Policy on Group Work:

Certain course assignments such as the monitor responsibilities will be conducted as a group project.   All students within the group will receive the same grade. 

Other Course Information:

YouTube Channel Journals (35%): All students are expected to develop a well written journal for each channel (1 to 2 pages in length per channel, single spaced).  The journal for each channel consists of 3 sections:  
(1) Background/overview of the YouTuber and their channel – think of this as writing a description of their channel, but from a viewer’s perspective.  The type of information that would allow someone to figure out if they were interested in the content.  
(2) Develop 3 key learning points that you personally have taken away from their videos. These need to be described and then give examples from their videos that support/illustrate them.   You might want to reflect back on what you have heard in classes, your own personal experiences, etc. when developing these learning points.  
(3) Give an example from their videos of how each YouTuber uses their platform for demonstrating leadership, innovation, and communication.    
(4) For the Discussion only YouTube channels there is one additional journal component: If you could ask them one question, what would it be and why?
 
Interview Groups (12.5%):  The class will be split into 3 groups and each group will be assigned a YouTube channel to develop interview questions for.  And on the day of the interview, the group is responsible for essentially running the interview of the YouTuber.  I will meet with each group 1-week before the interview to get you started on developing questions.  The list of the interview questions will be submitted to me 3 days prior to the scheduled interview for approval.   Each interview will take place on a separate day and last up to 2 hours.  This will be done on Zoom (details to follow) from 5 to 7 pm or 6 to 8 pm, depending on the YouTuber’s schedule.
 
Discussion Groups (12.5%):  The class will be split into 5 groups and each group will be assigned a YouTube channel to develop discussion points for.  I will meet with each group 1-week before the scheduled discussion to get you started on developing the discussion points.  The list of the discussion points will be submitted to me 3 days prior to the scheduled discussion for approval.  The discussions will be grouped into 2 sessions.  The first session includes Mike Mitchell, SaskDutch Kid, and 10th Generation Dairyman, as they have some contrasts and overlaps between them.  The second session will be the Veggie Boys and the Millennium Farmer, and we will have a wrap up de-brief as well.  This will be done on Zoom or TEAMs (details to follow) from 6 to 8 pm.
 
Take home exam (40%): I will develop 4 essay questions around the channels, one questions will be mandatory that everyone answers and then each student has to answer 2 out of the 3 remaining essay questions.  You will have a month to complete this.  Using your journals and with references from the peer reviewed social and scientific literature students are required to answer the mandatory question and 2 of the 3 remaining questions.  Each question is to be answered in essay format including proper citing of 6 to 8 referenced articles from the published literature.  Minimize the use of web pages as a reference source.  Your answers should be in the range of 800 to 1200 words, not including references. 

University Policies

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